Sunday, 30 November 2014

Buying rotting vegetable in the late afternoon

Going for a long hike? You can begin here,
from Taichung to Taitung,
at a distance of 362km.
One afternoon I was strolling leisurely in the countryside together with an old friend Benjamin. It was a short distance from his residence, at a remote village in central Taiwan. Just about an hour ago, there  was a thunder storm with heavy down pour at the vicinity. We were glad that the rain had stopped and the sun emerged behind some dark clouds to cast a ray of intimidating light  reminding us of its immense power. We had just hiked for half a mile when  we were greeted by a haggard looking old farmer pushing a 3 wheeler-cycle fully laden with plastic bags of packed vegetables. We took a closer look at the packed vegetables and we noticed that the leaves of the vegetables were mostly  yellowish green, almost dried up and had tiny worm eaten holes on them. Without much hesitation Benjamin bought three bags of the vegetables after being told of the price. The old farmer was very grateful that he manage to make a sale. He was rather apologetic when he explained to Ben: "These vegetable were all planted at my plot of land over had been raining for the past few days and all I could savage were these packs. I am sorry the vegetables here were not so good looking......"
The human pedal-powered,  
old styled tricycles.
I was taken aback, so I asked: "Hey Ben, these vegetables are not fresh enough and most them have worms chewing away the leaves."   

Worst fear - nobody would want to eat
vegetables infested with worms
"Yes, I know  and I saw." Came the quick reply from Benjamin. After the departure of the old farmer, I asked Benjamin again: "are you really going to eat these staff?"
"No, of course. The vegetables are not fit for human consumption."
"Then why must you buy?"
"This is because of the fact that it's unlikely anybody else will buy his packs of vegetables. If I were not buying, the poor old farmer would have no income today!"

Pomelo farmer picking up fruits after visit
of a devastating typhoon in Taiwan 
Corn field suffered a rampage from a typhoon.
The loss is immense.
My friend Benjamin's kind deed impressed me and I was touched by his empathy. I turned back to catch up with the old farmer to buy few more packs of the inedible vegetables. The farmer bowed and thanked me profusely; he exclaimed in gratitude: "I had been trying to sell some vegetables and nobody would buy any from me. Only two of you kind souls so far had bought from me."

Thank you for reading.

I have learned a great lesson from this small insignificant incident. We are always hoping that there will be a solution in a miracle when we are at the ebbs. But at times when most needed, when we are capable and able, could we be the ones who create the miracles?
Translated by Alan Kok from
a story obtained from an e-mail.
Alan CY Kok

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A mother takes beautiful pictures of her one-handed daughter and the results are inspiring

Holly Spring and her 4year-old daughter Violet are the creative team behind an imaginative series of photographs that capture the whimsy and joys of childhood. With vivid colours and ethereal backgrounds, the New Zealand photographer's images welcomes the viewer into a magical land.

Something you may not notice at first
is that Violet has not left hand.
Born with Symbrachydactyly and Hirschsprung's disease she has faced
 adversity in her young life. But this has not prevented  
 her from growing into a confident and happy girl,
I do not see daughter as "disabled",
merely "differently able", says Holy.
In fact her daughter's curiosity and bravery
 inspired her to become a photographer.
"My daughter is my muse and my heart that inspire
 me to follow my passion." says Holly.
The picture with Violet and the giraffe (taken on a visit to the zoo) was purposely inverted for effect won Gold at the prestigious NZIPP Epson Iris Awards 2014
Holly describes her photography as "whimsical Art with heart"
-colourful and filled with dynamic light and whimsy.
During their photo shoots, Holly
 and Violet role play a lot.
"There might be a moth circling a street light, but we'll imagine it's a fairy,
and immediately that moth will grab Violet's attention." Holly explained.
"In that moment I am photographing pure wonder and innocence,"
she said. "That is the secret to a good whimsical shoot."
Violet is close to starting school, which will bring a whole new set of challenges, but they are determined to take it in their stride with a positive attitude.

These pictures were published on
with permission from Holy Spring.
Alan CY Kok


Friday, 21 November 2014

Humanity and compassion abound

 It was the time of Christmas festive season for revellers
Detroit City seen from a distance
There was an unbroken tradition existed in a large corporate company in Detroit City, Michigan, USA. The internationally acclaimed company held their annual dinner and dance without fail every year on Christmas Eve. Attendance was overwhelmingly successful as there were always attractions of lucky draws that offered fanciful and handsome prizes that included overseas travels, electrical appliances and even cash rewards too.  For the imminent event this year the president cum CEO of the company had suggested that every participant should contribute $50 so as to pool the amount together with the winner of the top prize bringing the cash prize home. The president also pledged to contribute another $10,000 on top of the grand prize. With the number of staff signing up to attend the Christmas Eve function exceeded 300, it could be a hefty sum.

Thomas Bellushi strolled into the company's assembly hall where the dinner and dance was to be held with some positive anticipation. He was anticipating to win some prizes. At the registration counter he was given two slips of paper for which he must write his name on them and slide one each into two large ballot boxes made of paper cartons. One of the ballot box was labelled "Various prizes" and the other one was labelled "Grand Cash prize". Thomas was hesitant  when he was about to jot his name onto the paper as he caught a glimpse  of the office cleaner lady, the janitor Maria De Costa, who sat quietly and alone at one corner of the hall. Though she was well dressed for the dance and dinner party, she somehow displayed a frown, melancholic expression.

A janitor at work diligently
A smiling janitor at work posed
for a good picture taken.
                             The annual dinner would begin soon 
                      as all were seated waiting for the speech to end.

Thomas knew well the plight of the black lady janitor Maria - her teenage son was suffering a complex ailment that needed surgery as soon as possible. It was obvious that she could not raise the sufficient fund as a single mother with her meagre income. He made up his mind at that spur of moment and wrote "Maria De Costa" on one piece of paper and slid it into the ballot box through a  small opening. Thomas knew well his chance to help Maria winning the grand prize stood merely at odds of 1 over 300, but with a bit of luck, Maria could be a happier person. He then placed another piece of paper bearing his name into the other ballot box.

A stash of lucky draw ballots
filled the paper carton box

The most crucial moment arrived at the close of the merry making Christmas dinner and dance when it ended around midnight. The president was ushered to step onto the stage. He slowly slid his hand into the ballot box and promptly pick up a piece of paper after reshuffling the papers few times.  He then read out loud through the public address: Maria De Costa is the winner of the Grand Cash Prize! Maria was shocked beyond belief as she stepped forward to collect her prize, a mocked cheque prepared before hand from the president. She was seen with tears rolling down her cheeks and heard wailing loudly and exclaiming that her son would be saved since she had the fund to pay for the surgery cost now.

A surgery was carried out intensely
Thomas Bellushi was taken aback. He was pleasantly surprised that his small effort in helping the janitor lady could materialised. He walked past the stage as the MC kept on announcing the names of the winners of the secondary prizes. He caught sight of the ballot box that was labelled Grand Cash Prize, which was then left aside at one corner of the stage without any body paying attention to it. Curiosity got the better of him as he plunged his hand into the ballot box and took out a bundle of the papers. He mind was thrown off immensely when he discovered the name "Maria De Costa" was written on all the small pieces of paper! Thomas was overcome with an urge of emotion outburst as he sat on the carpeted floor covering his face with his hands. He realised that there were real miracles during the Christmas festive season, but miracles would not come down to the earthy world out of the blues. They needed to be sought and created.

A true story found in the net with
names of characters changed.

Alan CY Kok


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sleeping child is angelic even in animal kingdom (.....and some are not sleeping)

Ah, that's absolutely lovely - little bunny
 asleep in human palms.
This is so touching. A female squirrel adopted a baby left alone for one or two days in the nest at the adjacent tree.
 Though they don't interact with each other much,
but inquisitive squirrels will go and investigate
 if there're no activities for a short time
from its neighbours.
Hi, Good morning! Mother owl introduces
her nestling to the world of meadow.
It would be difficult to bring the baby
 bird back to the nest.
Miss Thumbelina remains sleeping while
 clutching a human thump. 
Myanmar children sleeps well alongside with their family pet-A large family male pig they breed for mating to earn a living.   
Are they brothers? Such sweet slumber
they have together in the afternoon!
Mom couldn't wake them up!
Misery acquaints strange bedfellow! 
Puppy half-sleeping in the warmth of
Mom's hold while chewing.........
It's a kitten there, isn't it?
Locked in tight embrace for these two playful kittens.
Snow white fawn - baby deer taking a rest with eyes opened.
Yeah, that's the way to do it in unison - stretch your
right front leg straight to that direction!
This is how racoon baby got its black eyed-patch.
A baby lamb-an ewe tries to be friendly with a cat.
Oh My! These baby tortoises will sure live up to more
 than 100 year-old in the safe sanctuary of the Zoo.
 But then the Zoo will be over-crowded.
A highland horse towering over the girl with a warm
 greeting with its snout in the snowing land.
Hey Master, can I have the milk now?
Scottish mini horse follows its mini master back to the stable.
A very charming Mandarin Duck awaits its mate.
A pair of very active ferret babies in the hands
 of their master find it hard to move
 their slender bodies.
Yes we're a pair;you've any objection my master?
Why are you leaning on me, Sir? 
I need a shoulder to cry on! 
Well, they say "let sleeping dog lie".
 So let it be.
You're puzzled? So does your puppy!
Tom cat looks very possessive over its territory.
They're so cherubic, cute and cuddly!
I too look cute and cuddly, says the American Pika.
Imitation is the best form of flattery-Try to smile 
like your Master lady and you look silly!
What the .........are they trying to show the poor doggie
 is religious, or is it too cold or what?
Let's kiss for the night.
Have sweet dreams,

Alan CY Kok